What's next for Malone after stepping down as DirecTV chairman?

As expected, Liberty Global chairman John Malone has stepped down as chairman of DirecTV and further reduced his influence on the satellite TV provider as part of a deal with the FCC, which was concerned about an overlap between Liberty's Puerto Rican cable operations and DirecTV.

As a result of the moves, Malone's voting power in DirecTV fell from 24 to 3 percent after exchanging 21.8 million super-voting shares for 26.5 million common stock shares.

Also leaving the satellite TV provider's board of directors are Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei and Liberty Global director Paul Gould. DirecTV President-CEO Michael White was given the job of filling Malone's shoes as chairman of the DirecTV board.

The moves leave open questions about where Malone will go next. It's most likely to be in the cable arena--he apparently was one of seven bidders for the Bresnan Communications properties--and for now, at least, in Europe where Liberty has been on the prowl for additional properties.

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